NRL grand final could shift from SCG
The $810 million ANZ Stadium redevelopment could be delayed by five months if the NRL is forced to shift this year's grand final from the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The Daily Telegraph has also been told that Parramatta's Bankwest Stadium is another candidate to host rugby league's biggest club match.
A postponement of rugby league club games in coming weeks due to coronavirus could push the NRL grand final from October 4 to later in the month or into November.
The SCG however will be formally handed over to the ICC from October 10 for the start of the T20 World Cup. The first SCG World Cup game will pit Australia against Pakistan on October 24.
SCG ground staff would need around three weeks before the handover to prepare the pitch and outfield. Stadiums also have a lockout stage around a week before any major event.
It means the grand final would need to be moved from the SCG.
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A Memorandum of Understanding with the NSW Government - based around the $1.2 billion stadiums deal - states all grand finals must be played in NSW until 2046.
That essentially rules out any move to take the grand final north to Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium or Townsville's new QCB Stadium.
Bankwest Stadium is a prime candidate but only holds 30,000 fans.
ANZ Stadium is due to be decommissioned after an NRL match between Canterbury and South Sydney on June 27. The ground is due to host State of Origin II six days earlier, although there are talks about moving the Origin series to after the grand final.
There is also speculation the redevelopment would be scrapped entirely, although that remains a remote possibility.
There is now growing pressure that the refurbishment's commencement date could be delayed until November to host this year's grand final.
Any delay would be financially costly but at least give the NRL an 83,000 seat option for their decider.
A spokesman for Acting NSW Sports Minister Geoff Lee said there had been no discussions yet about delaying the construction.
The NRL and SCG Trust are aware of the possible shift, as is management at ANZ Stadium and Bankwest Stadium.
NRL management will discuss the matter in-depth during coming weeks once it is known whether the competition will be suspended.
Any holdup at ANZ Stadium could impact on Australia's 2023 bid for the women's football World Cup.
A revamped ANZ Stadium was to re-open in 2023 but that could now be delayed if demolition was pushed back five months.
The final T20 World Cup game at the SCG would be a semi-final on November 11.
It would be unlikely the NRL grand final would be played at the ground after this date because it would still be configured for cricket, including a significant pitch square.
The only other scenario would be Queensland making a huge offer encouraging the NRL to break its NSW Government contract and play at Suncorp Stadium.
October 10 is also looming as a potential deadline date for the MCG to host this year's grand final. Following that point, like the SCG, control of the ground will be handed to the ICC.
Speaking on SEN this morning, MCC CEO Stuart Fox said access to the ground for AFL games could extend into the first two weeks of October.
"After that it becomes very challenging. We have a contract in place with the ICC and cricket is bringing a World Cup to Australia. We need to think about how significant that is to Australia, the economy, viewership around the world," he said.